Strategic Business Planning

Learn how to develop a Business Strategy and the process of Strategic Business Planning.
A business strategy describes: the business direction for the future in terms of a vision, strategic themes and a portfolio of planned changes. OGC
The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) Successful Delivery Toolkit defines three stages in developing a business strategy:
  • business analysis,
  • identifying the strategic direction for the future and
  • high-level planning of the implementation of the Business Strategy.

Business Analysis in Strategic Business Planning

Business analysis looks at three areas:
  • mission and vision,
  • goals and objectives,
  • external environment and internal resources.
The company mission statement should state succinctly what it does, its reason for being and its purpose. The Vision Statement should set out the future vision for the company. Get a Vision Statement Template

Goals and objectives are subtly different. The company's goals usually contain a numerical target and are set at corporate level. They are achieved at a lower level by the meeting of a series of departmental objectives.

Consideration of the external environment is crucial in determining the strategy and adapting it over time: the analysis should consider political, economic, social, technological, legislative and environmental factors. Finally the internal resources of the company are reviewed to establish the range and quality of company capacity within the organisation.

Identifying Strategic Direction

Identifying the company's direction or strategic choice involves the generation and evaluation of options along with a consideration of the company mission, vision, stakeholder expectations and existing competitive advantage.

The generation of options is driven by the challenges facing the organisation, which OGC describes as the strategic issues. Options should identify the areas of business activity in which the organisation needs to engage in order to meet its challenges.

Planning the delivery of the Business Strategy

The third stage involves high level planning to identify candidates for action (programme of business change) and to develop an implementation plan.

This stage identifies resources and management control requirements, the organisation structure required to make the strategy work and analyses of the impact of the change, the level of expertise for managing the change and the human resources implications.

The outputs of the planning stages produce a strategic plan which contains the strategy statement comprising the mission, vision, goals and objectives, a list of candidates for action and a high level plan of action.

The Business Strategy Development Process

The process involved in Developing a Business Strategy is illustrated in the flow chart below:
setting Strategic generation – developing a Business Strategy

Source: OGC, Setting and managing strategic direction.

The analysis of strategic issues leads to the strategy formulation and is underpinned and directed by the vision, mission, goals and objectives.

The strategy formulation is controlled by senior management and produces the strategic themes leading to an agenda for change, high-level plans and finally the candidates for action (programme of business change).

Existing policies and procedures inform the strategy formulation and the high level planning.

References and recommended reading on Strategic Business Planning

OGC (Office of Government Commerce) - stakeholder and project management guidance

Lawrie, A., 2014. Business and Strategic Planning for voluntary organisations London: Directory of Social Change.

Katsioloudes, Marios. and Abouhanian, A K,. 2016 The Strategic Planning Process: Understanding Strategy in Global Markets. Abingdon: Routledge

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